However, the good old days really weren't so good for female doctors in the 1920's.
In the fifth and final book of this series by Linda Weaver Clarke, Elena, Woman of Courage: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho, the story focuses on the new doctor in town, Elena Yeates, who makes house calls, and also has an office for medical exams. She's seeking acceptance in the conservative western town of Paris, Idaho, in 1925. While Melinda Roberts wishes to switch from her old doctor to the new, female doctor, the menfolk are quite reluctant to. Elena is scoffed at and taunted, particularly by Mr. Anderson, who calls her a witch doctor and an old maid, because she's twenty-six, unmarried, and the wrong sex to be a doctor, and the other men are quite skeptical of her. That is, except for one. In the continuation of this historical fiction series, the Roberts' son, John, a "confirmed bachelor", is entranced by the new woman in town, who just happens to be the new doctor.
"As the men conversed, John watched Elena's every move and tried thinking of a way to get to know her. He had seldom been interested in a woman beyond the dance floor. He claimed to love the life of a bachelor and was too busy to court a woman, but for some reason, this woman fascinated him. There was only one problem; she did not seem to be interested in him."
~Elena, Woman of Courage, Linda Weaver Clarke
John feigns an illness and goes to see this lovely, half-Mexican, woman doctor with bobbed hair (a hairstyle some called disgraceful at the time) because of his interest in her. This story features members of the Roberts family and has many of the same elements I enjoyed in the author's previous books; it introduces a strong, independent protagonist, Dr. Elena Yeates, and includes an ardent romance between John and Elena. These books are enjoyable to read, and although they're wholesome, they're never boring. Linda Weaver Clarke is outstanding at presenting the characters' thoughts, especially when it comes to romance, and she captures the highs and lows of romantic life rather adeptly. The author also pays close attention to historical accuracy, enabling readers to learn about U.S. history in her novels. This book discusses the first female doctor in the U.S., Elizabeth Blackwell, who graduated at the top of her class in 1849, and set up her own clinic in NY because hospitals didn't hire women until years later. I enjoyed this story of adventure and romance set in the wild west, but I'm a bit saddened because this is the last book in the series, although the Author's Notes at the back of the book mentions that there's another series in the works.
And there's more good news! Linda Weaver Clarke is again generously offering an autographed copy of the first book in the series, Melinda and the Wild West, as a giveaway (US/Canada). To find out more about this book, here's my review.
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Enter by 5 PM PST on Sunday, March 7. The winner will be selected randomly, and announced on Monday, March 8. Good luck!
Special thanks to Linda Weaver Clarke for sending me this book. Without a doubt, Elena, Woman of Courage counts toward the Women Unbound Reading Challenge hosted by Aarti, Care, and Eva.